La Belle Epoque in her first life carried logs from Burgundy to Paris, but today she is transformed into a deluxe hotel barge carrying a very different cargo along the very same canal.
She has been designed with both elegance and passenger comfort in mind and her welcoming features include a wood-panelled saloon/dining room with bespoke, hand-built seating and a spacious sun deck with spa pool. The comfortable cabin accommodation comprises two junior suites and four staterooms and a choice of twin or double beds, all with marble en suite facilities.
La Belle Epoque is the perfect vessel to take you on a gentle voyage of discovery through a region studded with traditions and history that go back centuries. As she meanders along the Burgundy Canal with its undulating countryside, you fill find that the towpath is always there for spot of walking or cycling.
La Belle Epoque deck plan
Click image to enlarge
Guests are met at our meeting point in central Paris** and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to La Belle Epoque. A full crew Welcome Aboard with champagne and canapés. After time to settle into your cabin you will enjoy your first dinner on board and an introduction to Burgundy’s excellent cuisine.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, then we cruise through woodlands and rolling fields with great towpath biking and walking opportunities past the tiny canalside villages of Nogent, Courcelles and Les Granges. After lunch, we enjoy either a stroll around the hilltop village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, where the film ‘Chocolat’ was set, or a tour of the medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois. On the way from the summit of Mount Auxois, we also look at Alesia, where the last battle between the Gauls and Romans took place in 52 B.C. and visit the impressive museum. Dinner on board.
Morning cruise with excellent towpath walking or cycling, passing the 18th century Forges de Buffon. Then after lunch we escort you to the exquisite UNESCO World Heritage Site of Abbaye de Fontenay founded by St Bernard in 1118. Representing a distinctive example of early Cistercian architecture and virtually intact, Fontenay allows an exceptional glimpse of Cistercian life and industry with its peaceful gardens, ponds and fascinating cloisters, dormitories and scriptorium. Return to the barge and cruise to Ravières. Dinner on board.
A truly unique day lies ahead. Following breakfast aboard we head to Les Riceys, the only wine growing area of the Champagne region to have 3 Appellation d’Origine Contrôlées. Here we visit the Maison Alexandre Bonnet for a private champagne tasting, a family owned Champagne house renowned for a stunning yearly harvest of Pinot Noir that leads to some utterly exquisite vintages. After you’ve tasted an array of champagnes we take a short drive to Château de Ricey-Bas; with its 12th century vaulted cellars and thousand year history it’s the ideal location to appreciate the rolling vineyards and enjoy a glimpse of family life in a rural château. Here we will be greeted for a Champagne aperitif and a gourmet lunch with the Baroness herself, which we take in either the private salon or the atmospheric vaulted 13th century kitchen. We will spend the remainder of the afternoon strolling the beautiful gardens or exploring the regal château interiors. Upon your return to the barge we’ll begin our cruise to Ancy-le-Franc, with plenty of opportunity to walk or cycle along the towpath… or sit on deck with another glass of bubbly! Dinner on board.
This morning we visit Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. This beautifully symmetrical, 16th century masterpiece contains France’s biggest collection of Renaissance murals and is set in magnificent gardens and parkland. In the afternoon, a gentle cruise as your hotel barge continues along the Burgundy Canal and descends through the picturesque locks to moor at Lezinnes. Dinner on board.
After breakfast we enjoy a leisurely cruise to our final mooring at Tanlay, with the opportunity to cycle or walk into the picturesque village of Saint Vinnemer. Following lunch, we tour the vineyards and town of Chablis, dating back to Roman times and enjoy a private wine tasting at a renowned winemaker such as the family-run Domaine Jean Marc Brocard, which makes the most of the region’s wonderful local terroir to produce high quality wines, before returning to the barge for Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
After breakfast, guests are transferred to Paris**.
**other locations available for Private Charter bookings
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.